Exploring Bayside Melbourne and Phillip Island... and some rockin'! - 10-12 February, 2024

When local Quo tribute band Australis Quo announced a headline show over in Seaford, we decided to arrange a long weekend around it, taking in some of Bayside Melbourne as well as visiting Phillip Island (where neither of us had been for more than twenty years). We managed to secure dog-friendly accommodation so little Lola got a holiday too!

We headed off on Saturday 10th February and it was a straightforward two-hour drive in sunny conditions down to Cheltenham. We opted to take Beach Road all the way down (rather than the quicker inland Nepean Highway route) to enjoy the views and check out the latest beachfront property developments since our last trip out this way. We had a lovely long lunch at Love Madre, a friendly plant-based cafe, before driving down to our old haunt of Mentone where Lola had a good time exploring the long dog beach. She needed the cooling waters of the Bay as it was well into the 30C's by mid-afternoon. It was then just a short drive along the beach to Mordialloc where we popped into Urban Ground to pick up some takeaway food from the Purple Rabbit vegan food truck (we'd enjoyed some of their tasty food just a few weeks before when they visited our hometown of Portarlington!). Heading off from there, we made our way to our overnight stop, Quest Dandenong Central (another of Quest's dog-friendly properties). After relaxing in the apartment for a while, we enjoyed the food from Purple Rabbit before it was time for Lee to head off for the 20-minute drive down to Seaford. It was an easy run, arriving at Scotties Garage right on 7pm in plenty of time for the evening's musical entertainment! The Australis Quo gig was great fun and it was also nice to catch up with some Quo friends there. A full review can be found on Lee's Access All Areas website. The gig didn't finish up until about 12.15am so it was after 1am by the time the drive back to Dandenong was despatched and the comfy Quest king bed settled into!

We made a lazy start on Sunday before checking out of the Quest apartments at 10am. It was already sunny and warm as we left Dandenong and it was an easy 90-minute drive to Phillip Island. The main town, Cowes, was fairly busy and the beaches packed with temperatures in the mid-30C's by lunchtime. We headed to Island Wholefoods for lunch and had a good meal and nice drinks at this popular plant-based cafe. Well-fed, we drove the short distance to the only off-leash dog beach on the island, Ventnor dog beach. This long stretch of beach was perfect for Lola to enjoy a cooling swim on what had become a very hot afternoon. Popping back into Cowes for some supplies from the IGA and Coles supermarkets, it was then just a few minutes' drive out of town to our overnight stop, Park Lane Holiday Park. Our cabin at this large caravan park was great, very clean with good facilities and a large covered deck. We enjoyed relaxing at the cabin (mainly inside with the air conditioner on!) for a few hours before driving out to nearby Smiths Beach to walk Lola again before the restrictions kicked in (no dogs after 8pm!). This was a popular spot for dogs but the flat and wide expanse of the beach gave everyone plenty of room and Lola once again enjoyed the cooling water before we headed back to the cabin after a great day out on the island.

It was a lovely morning as we enjoyed breakfast out on our deck on Monday before packing up and leaving the excellent Park Lane caravan park just after 10am. It was a comfortable 90-minute drive over to Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula and we headed straight to Wombat Cafe, where we had great vegan meals and nice drinks. Their outdoor area was thankfully shaded as it was again in the mid-30C's by lunchtime. Lola had a short wander in the park opposite the cafe but it was too hot to stay in the sun for long. Cruising along the beach down to Sorrento, we caught the 3pm ferry over to Queenscliff and then drove home to round out a great long weekend.

It was great to explore our old Bayside haunts again and some live Quo is always good! Adding on a short trip down to Phillip Island made for a perfect long weekend escape and the fine (if somewhat too hot!) weather helped too.